Feature and Follow Friday: Bring Them Back

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The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!

Today's Feature & Follow Friday question is:
Characters, sometimes our favorites, die during books. If you'd get to choose, who would you bring back? 
-Suggested by Howling for Books

Sirius Black and Fred Weasley from the Harry Potter series, as well as Lupin and Tonks. I was tempted to include James and Lily too, but I think their presence would deviate from the canon - a lot.

Then, I want Kartik, from Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle Trilogy, back. He's not technically dead, not really.

I guess that's it. Wait, there's also Jesse in The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe. I liked him more than the other guy.
Ayanami Faerudo

Book Blitz: Gateway Trilogy by Christina Garner {Excerpt + Giveaway}

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Welcome to the Gateway Trilogy Book Blitz! Check out the books, whet your reading appetite with an excerpt and enter the giveaway!
Gateway 
Ember has always known she doesn’t belong in this world. But when she tries to correct the mistake, she wakes to find herself in a mental institution.

She’s soon drawn to Taren, the mysterious boy with hazel eyes. He’s not what he seems, but what is he?

When chaos erupts, they are forced to flee the institution together, and the secret that Taren has been keeping brings Ember closer to understanding her own. And leads her to… the Gateway.
ON SALE FOR $0.99

Chasm
Genre: YA Paranormal
**Description Contains Book 1 Spoilers**

Two months have passed since Ember Lyons nearly died killing the powerful Root Demon threatening the Los Angeles Gateway. Physically healed, images of the day still haunt her and she can no longer access the power she once wielded. She can't talk about it with anyone at The Institute--not even her handsome, demon-hunting boyfriend, Taren. Besides there are bigger things to worry about: Gateways around the world are weakening, Keepers' Marks are fading, escaped lesser demons are populating Los Angeles, and it looks like the Root Demon wasn't alone.

When the Institute sends Ember and a team to Europe, she hopes to find answers and security on the journey, but another attempt on her life reminds her she's never really safe.

Then she's thrust together with the mysterious Alexander. Ember can't be sure if this charismatic man is her most formidable enemy or greatest ally. Either way, she needs him, because he's the only one who can bring her to... the Chasm.
ON SALE FOR $2.99
Tether
The Gateway Trilogy #3
Genre: YA Paranormal
**Description Contains Book 2 Spoilers**

Ember was only trying to keep a promise when she jumped into the demon world. But instead of saving Cole and his people, she found herself just as trapped as they are. She lives and learns with the Daemon survivors while the demon threat grows every day.

Meanwhile Taren struggles with his guilt for not stopping Ember. He’s desperate to know she’s alive, but there's been no sign of her except in his own vivid dreams.

As they struggle to reconnect, the Gateways around the world weaken, and the demons begin to amass for war. The end is near and Ember must face her fears if she has any hope of saving the world – or herself.

With everything falling apart, her only hope is to find...her Tether.
The metallic taste of blood filled my mouth. I’d bitten down hard on my lip to keep from screaming at the pain in my ankle. I swallowed, not daring to spit it out; Dahraks had an incredible sense of smell and a shark-like ability to find blood. 

I had been in this wasteland before—in spirit—but it became immediately clear that being here live, in the flesh, was an altogether different experience. I had expected the biting wind, the smell of rot, the heat of a desert, but this was amplified beyond reason. The smell was overpowering—like a festering wound when the bandage is removed; like death itself had died and left nothing but its stink. The heat seared my skin. The wind felt like a furnace and threatened to blow me away. I writhed upon the cracked earth—my right ankle throbbing—and, for a split-second, I wished it would. 

A high-pitched howl pierced the wind, and for a moment the pain disappeared as I looked around wildly, trying to find the source of the noise. I saw nothing but wasteland. 

I was alone, in the open, unprotected and broken.
About the Author

Christina Garner began writing stories at the age of six. Her first–about a young girl who busted up a nefarious ring of furniture thieves–was a huge hit with her mother. At eighteen, her aspirations as an actor had her loading up her Buick and setting off for Hollywood. Since then, she has written and directed 10 short films, including Rewind and Reminder, both of which received acclaim on the festival circuit. In 2006, she began writing screenplays. A year later, she even got paid for one. In May of 2011, her debut novel, Gateway, became an Amazon Bestseller. Chasm, Book 2 in The Gateway Trilogy, did the same. 

When she’s not writing novels, Christina spends her time working in the movie business, traveling, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, and playing with her dog, Griffin.

Ayanami Faerudo

Waiting on Wednesday: Illusion by S.M. Boyce

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Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. This meme spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.
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Illusion
Grimoire Saga #4
S.M. Boyce
Expected Publication: November 4, 2014
Genre: Fantasy
The final chapter in the war for Ourea ends with blood.

Kara Magari is an icon. A hero. The people love her. The royalty tolerates her. She has everything—an army, allies, and a close circle of chosen family. They believe she will end the war, and they shouldn’t. She’s as scared as they are. She just can’t show it.

The war she accidentally started ends with a final battle that will either save or enslave her people. She will do anything to win—until she learns the cost of victory.

Braeden Drakonin is afraid of what he’ll become when he takes over his father’s kingdom—that much authority can change a man. But his father has already tried to kill him more than once, and it’s time to end his reign. Braeden’s armies are ready. His strategy is foolproof. His generals are waiting for the order to attack. It’s only in the final seconds before the battle begins that he realizes he missed one crucial detail—the traitor.
I didn't expect to like this series. The first book has been with me for so long that I didn't remember I had it. But it just took one chapter and I was hooked! 

This is good. This series is good.
Ayanami Faerudo

Blogger Vs. Author Round #...?

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I don't even know what round we are on these days, what with all the blogger vs. author matches I've heard through the book blogging grapevine.

Drama.

Drama. Drama. Drama.

I normally stay away from those things in the book blogging community. The Goodreads debates, bullying, blogger vs author discussions, don't read this, don't do that. 

This round of Blogger Vs. Author is between Blythe Harris and Kathleen Hale, author of No One Else Can Have You. 

It started with a review written by Blythe Harris of Kathleen Hale's book. I haven't read the original review of Blythe Harris. Those that did said that it wasn't a review at all but a series of updates while she was reading the book. The thing is it was kind of mean and negative and Harris held no bounds with her dislike of the book.

Kathleen Hale's response was......... you can read what she did in this article - in detail.

To say the least, my reaction after reading that article was utter relief that I use a pseudonym as a book blogger. There's nothing wrong with using a pseudonym. It's actually advisable when you're in the internet. Posting personal details, i.e. home address, cellphone numbers, bank accounts, is very dangerous what with all the wackos and nuts out there. But I can assure you that the little bits of myself that I care to share here in this blog are all true including sharing my first name with the ghost of the first-floor girls' bathroom at Hogwarts.

Back to the topic.

As readers, we have the right to talk about the book we're reading and express our own opinions. Reading is very subjective; and each reader experiences a different set of moods, feelings, and thoughts from other readers. We could review based on our feelings. We could review based on our beliefs and cultural background. We could review based on factual research, as an academic. For example, I've been reviewing based on my feelings and moods, in other words, my enjoyment of the book, lightly touching on 'technicalities'. In fact, the only book I've read and reviewed (in this blog) as an academic, with all the fanfare of being a 'literary critic' was Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami (I enjoyed the book).

I'm segueing again.

I get that getting a mean and negative review is a blow to the heart of an author. I understand that (most of us get upset when someone says or thinks badly about you or your work). You pour your heart and soul into writing your book and send it out into the world. But you also have to understand that not everyone will like that book. Some would write glowing reviews and put you up on a pedestal but some would utterly lambaste the book that you could cry. However, they're criticizing the book, NOT the author himself/herself. You could ignore the negative reviews. It is as simple as that.

But what Kathleen Hale did was borderline creepy. To go to such lengths such as calling the blogger's house, calling her job, obtaining the address of the blogger and go to their house to confront her? That's stalking and harassment... over ONE negative, albeit mean, review. If Hale could have ignored that and didn't write a damning (and alarming) article, then other readers/reviewers/bloggers could have read her book and form their own opinions about it. Now, the book blogging community are up in arms (whether for or against) regarding this issue.

We bloggers are not out to make or ruin authors' careers. We are readers who love books and have passion for reading. That's it.


ETA:

Update from the person who gave Hale Harris's address: http://www.yareads.com/my-side-of-the-story/news/13970


P.S.

Dear authors and publishers,

We give our home addresses to you in good faith, hoping that you'll keep them private. Please don't hand them out like flyers are handed out on the street, without our permission.

Series Review: What Kills Me by Wynne Channing

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What Kills Me
What Kills Me #1
Wynne Channing
Genre: YA Paranormal
An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race.

So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive.

How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?
We all dream of having that summer romance in an exotic location - Paris, Tokyo, London, Rome. The excitement, the thrill, the uncertainty. Admit it, we dreamed of it one time or another, probably influenced by books or movies. I did. When I read the first chapters of What Kills Me and Axelia just took up with Paolo like that, all I could think about was the sheer stupidity of the main character and hoped that that particular strain won't last for the remainder of the book. Escape through the window, disregarding curfew, sure. Strolling around well-lit streets eating gelato, fine. But following a stranger, A STRANGER, to a dark, dingy place was the mother of all of stupid. YOU JUST MET THE GUY! HE'S A STRANGER! Oh, it's so romantic. He's so good-looking and his face looks so genuine and earnest and he's sharing something important with him... 

Don't come crying to me when you become a vampire because it's your own fault.

I guess I didn't hate this that much except for what I ranted above. I could also rant about the instalove bit since I don't really get how Lucas nor Axelia could fall for the other given that they've known each other only for days. I could also attribute the danger factor because nothing bonds like shared danger and close encounters with death. Funny thing is I didn't really mind the instalove bit. Don't ask me why.

The vampire culture and the hints of clans, Ancients, the Monarchy and the arrabbiata, sorry, Aramatta were interesting. The story was fast-paced though. I wish it could have been expanded. But the book was centered on action and urgency so I guess immersing oneself in the vampire culture atmosphere was not possible.

I Am Forever
What Kills Me #2
Wynne Channing
Genre: YA Paranormal
Axelia fought an army of vampires and survived. Once fated as the destroyer of the vampire race, she is now welcomed into the immortal empire and revered as a god.

But instead of relishing her victory, she faces a dangerous new world and an empire at war. Axelia is thrust into the position of supreme vampire and caught in the crossfire of battle. To make matters worse, her role alienates Lucas, the one vampire that she trusts.

Her choices have brutal consequences and her power spawns evil enemies. And they know how to get to her — by hurting those whom she loves most.

Bestselling author Wynne Channing's highly-anticipated sequel to What Kills Me is another heart-pounding thrill ride filled with stunning twists, tragic betrayal and bloody action.
Bloody hell. She continued her stupidity from those first few chapters in book one. How could she possibly think that the people who wanted to kill her would just make a complete turn around and make her life their number one priority? How could she possibly trust those people? Because her existence could mean the destruction of their entire race? Because she's now being regarded as the highest of highs? She's being naive... and stupid. Didn't her recent experiences with them teach her anything? I honestly thought that all that worship and wealth got into her head and made it swell with delusions of grandeur. She may have that pathetic excuse of keeping someone safe but that's just it, an excuse.

Dammit. I now mind that instalove bit in the first book because I couldn't exactly imagine what Lucas saw in her. And I am not all for the whole super-powered vampire here - I just whut?
Ayanami Faerudo
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